Making of a Moment – MTV Unplugged 3/16/1992

By: John Farrar | March 21, 2022
Pearl Jam Podcast - Making of a Moment - MTV Unplugged 3/16/1992

Thanks to everyone who listened to our MTV Unplugged episode last week, that was a big one that we’d been looking forward to for a long time, and we tried to give as comprehensive a look at it as we possibly could. There are so many classic, iconic moments from that show that it would be almost redundant for me to try to cover them again here. State of Love and Trust, Alive, of course Black and Porch, those are performances that some of you can roll tape on in your head, you’ve seen them so many times. So for this Making Of A Moment, I wanted to spotlight something that you might not have been as familiar with.

Pearl Jam
Dissident Improv on MTV Unplugged Bootleg Taping
Pearl JamDissident Improv on MTV Unplugged Bootleg Taping


After Black, there’s a break; Jeff is asking for a fretless bass, there’s a producer speaking, and they’re playing around with the intro to Jeremy. Stone begins to play a very relaxed, early version of Dissident, and Dave joins in, followed by the whole band. It sounds very put together acoustically, it wouldn’t change that much music-wise in the next year before being recorded for Vs. Ed comes in with some lyrics, obviously not the ones we’re used to, but a work in progress or even improv. To the best of my listening ability, this is what I think he’s singing:

What he thinks it means, I don’t know

I don’t, I see it upon your face

I don’t wanna die, this way

For a little while, they’re all in on it, and then it starts to fall apart, Jeff starts talking again, it sounds like he’s testing out the new bass, Ed is mumbling, and it’s over. Acknowledging the detour, Ed adds “that’s how we write, we just sit around and play.” I love being able to hear these little seeds of what would grow into album songs, this shows that as early as March 1992, as Ten was exploding, they were already working on material for the next record. Dissident wouldn’t make its proper debut until May of 1993, over a year later, and it’s never been played acoustic since.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 4-week foray into 1992, this week on the podcast we’re heading to 1998 and East Lansing, with a debut of a cover and an incredible version of one of PJ’s timeless classics.

John Farrar

Content Editor & LO4L Host

I was obsessed with Pearl Jam in the early 90's, and then became a collector of their live bootlegs in the 2000's. I’ve seen them 12 times in 8 different states. I’m continuously blown away by their ability to create transcendent moments in concert. I owe them for my love of vinyl, live music, and so much more. I’m happy to have the podcast and this website as an outlet for that obsession.

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